Is decluttering a disorder?

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[quote=“beschizza, post:1, topic:65227”]But it’s also true that anything that poses a significant challenge to consumer culture gets pathologized in the media. No joke: the issue of decluttering itself being in the DSM
(“Consumption Disaffectation Syndrome,” perhaps? Buypolar Disorder?) is
raised in this article.[/quote]

That’s putting a weird spin on it. The quote in question:

Unlike hoarding, which was officially reclassified as a disorder in 2013, compulsive decluttering doesn’t appear as its own entry in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM); instead, it’s typically considered a manifestation of obsessive-compulsive disorder. “I see it all the time. People rarely come into my office because they have a problem with being too efficient or wanting to declutter,” Diller says, but the problem usually makes itself known in other ways: “They’re not sleeping at night and they’re feeling jittery and irritable … they’ll sit in my office and straighten my pillows. They’re not comfortable until everything is in order.”

The rest of the article seems to take it as given that OCD is the right context - at least I didn’t find any indication that they’d prefer it to be classified separately. Of course, they go on to say that the popular “cultural embrace” of decluttering can make it harder to ask for help, and harder for others to notice that there is a problem. That’s probably true; at the same time I guess that can be read as a critique of decluttering in general.

(I personally think decluttering is the wrong end to focus on - the important thing is being selective about what you acquire, not getting rid of what you have. But that’s neither here nor there.)


The concern is that it acts as a false treatment for other problems in our lives

Tyrell: What… what seems to be the problem?


Our culture has an obsession with seeing oddballs as sick. This is a disturbing trend.


These are people who actively seek help because they think it’s destructive to their lives, though?


I’d like to see a graph of total products introduced into the marketplace of the subjects studied over the same timeline. maybe a separate one for just the disposables.


What is with the plateau in the early nineties? Was there some secret war I don’t know about?

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If you aren’t seeking help, there isn’t a problem.

There is a sort of naturalistic fallacy that ignores people who are suffering and minimizes their suffering in order to pump that alt-narrative.

If you’re a happy mutant, there’s no issue. If you need a pathology to have a more complete life, there is thankfully help for your OCD.

I rearrange my plate and environment constantly. If it got to where I couldnt live, I wouldn’t appreciate this patronizing handwave off of my problems. Mental illness is not a “hip trend” perpetrated by big pharm.

My mother is delightfully weird, but also a hoarder in a way that negatively affects her life. She will not seek help for this, she will not listen to us. She threatens to disown us if we remove anything from her home without her knowledge. It kills me, and destigmatizing these conditions is what she needs, she doesn’t need to be told she doesn’t have a problem. Your attitude does more harm than good.


you’re thinking of the mid-80s


Absolutely agree here. There’s ‘stigmatizing weird’, which…sure, society does (but also has, as long as there has been society, so let’s not play that this is a modern problem), but the people mentioned here or in hoarding environments have issues that are impacting their health and lives beyond just ‘quirks’. My mother in law has a hoarding problem that was brought on by them losing their store and it’s ruined their house, which is now full of comic paraphernalia and boxes. They can’t have necessary work done on the place and it’s going to really negatively affect their retirement years since the house could end up with expensive repairs needing done - they haven’t even had heating in years because they couldn’t get a maintenance guy out. Timquinn, I think you should definitely look at these issues a little deeper than your comment indicates.


the less I needed
the better I
– Charles Bukowski

(oft quoted by the decluttering – not sure it is exactly apt)


1984 was in the early nineties?

Religious people of many different religions expound on the virtues of simplifying life by minimizing belongings. Many Christian and Buddhist monks take vows of poverty. The intent is that minimizing attractions of the material makes it easier to be closer to the spiritual world.


I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got

Sinead O’Connor


Agreed, but modern consumer culture demands you have a mat and the correct tights and shoes before you begin your path to enlightenment.


I’d rather see BoingBoing redesigned with just three gray buttons on the homepage. One for studies like this and other “content”, a second for banana related posts, and a third for Amazon product affiliate links. Clean and simple, with lots of white space.


It works, too.

I don’t know if my beloved aunt was ever compulsive, or just really efficient. My uncle complained that if he got up to piss in the night, he would come back to find his side of the bed made.


I understand that ~ANYTHING~ can become a compulsion, for people with compulsive issues.

BUT for most people…

maybe we just hit peak useless sh*t in our lives?

maybe so much of what is made cheap and sold cheap, turns out to be useless junk?

maybe what we buy does not fill the void in our souls like it promised to do when we were in the store and just knew that having it would complete us, or at least momentarily dull the reality of overworking and struggling to get by? the false promise of consumerism?

by declutter do they mean give up all possessions? or get back to a level that would still be way above normal in most countries and at any time period before the last 65 years.

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None of this makes the diagnosis and treatment obsessive-compulsive disorder worthy of mockery, though.


Three gray buttons. Just look at them.